ISSN 1067-4136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 279–283. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2008.
Original Russian Text © E.K. Es’kov, V.I. Maslennikova, 2008, published in Ekologiya, 2008, No. 4, pp. 294–297.
The honeybee mite
ized by the haploid–diploid mechanism of sex determi-
nation, with males developing from unfertilized eggs
and females, from fertilized ones (arrhenotoky). This is
analogous to sex determination in the Asiatic honey bee
F.) and honeybee (
the mite parasitizes. The mite originally parasitized
, then it moved to
1963) and spread over the largest part of its geographic
range (Matheson, 1993).
The mite parasitizes adult and developing worker
bees and drones; however, host pupae are necessary for
its reproduction. Their isolation in a sealed comb pre-
cludes sexual contact between mites developing in dif-
ferent cells, because males stay in the cells and die after
several copulations (Sal’chenko, 1965; Piletskaya
et al., 1993). Therefore, the composition of the off-
spring of females located in the same brood cell affects
the sex determination in subsequent generations of
mites, which largely determines their pathogenicity
(Es’kov and Maslennikova, 2004).
We attempted to determine the factors affecting the
sex ratio in mites parasitizing honeybee nests.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study on honeybee families (from 12 to 40 in
different years) differing in the
infection rate started in 1991 and was performed,
mainly in Ryazan’ oblast, over seven years with inter-
ruptions. The reproductive activity of female mites and
the composition of their offspring were analyzed upon
opening sealed cells containing pupae of worker bees
and drones completing their postembryonic develop-
ment. The female mites were distinguished from their
daughters by the body color (which was lighter in
young females than in old ones). In doubtful cases, the
number of females that emerged in a cell was estimated
by the traces of their latest moltings. Males were distin-
guished by the size (they are smaller than females by a
factor of 1.5–2), light color, shape (intermediate
between triangular and oval), and the presence of dorsal
tentacles and bristles.
mite infection of honeybee families was
evaluated by the number of mites found on the body
surface of 100–150 worker bees. They were sampled in
the central zones of bee nests. The mite infection rate
(measured as the ratio of the number of mites to the
number of bees) was expressed in percent. The fertility
of mites under different conditions of reproduction was
estimated by the amount of offspring per female.
The effect of temperature on the emergence of
females and males was studied in the brood of a honey-
bee family with a mite infection rate of 9.6
brood (developing honeybees) was taken from the hive
after sealing and divided into several groups. They were
put into dry-air cabinets where different constant tem-
peratures (within the normal range necessary for hon-
eybee development) were maintained (Es’kov, 1983).
The air humidity in the constant-temperature cabinets
was maintained at 70–80%, which is optimal for hon-
eybee postembryonic development (Es’kov, 1995).
Factors Affecting the Sex Ratio in the Honeybee Mite
E. K. Es’kov
and V. I. Maslennikova
Russian State Agricultural Correspondence University, ul. Yuliusa Fuchika 1, Balashikha, Moscow oblast, 143900 Russia
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Skryabin Moscow State Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnologies,
ul. Akademika Skryabina 23, Moscow, 109472 Russia
Received August 16, 2006
—Study of the seasonal variation of the sex ratio in the honeybee mite
that sex determination was affected by temperature, order of reproductive cycles, and population densities in
the host’s brood cell and the honeybee nest. The mechanism of reproduction ensuring adaptation of the mite to
parasitism and reproduction on honeybees are discussed.
: worker bee, drone, brood, brood cell, queen, honeybee, mite, female, nest, environmental factors,